Honoring the True Purpose of Memorial Day

May 26, 2017


Memorial Day is traditionally a time for cookouts, parades, and family, but it’s important that during this weekend we take some time to remember the true meaning of this day.

Memorial Day is about the men and women who fought and lost their lives, usually on foreign soil, defending the values and freedoms of our nation. Ask any veteran and they will tell you that our freedoms have not been easily won.

One Connecticut young man who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country is Nicholas Madaras of Wilton. He was only 19-years-old when he lost his life in Iraq. He died defending many of the freedoms he never got a chance to enjoy.

I know Nick’s family. Losing a child is a high price to pay, and his death was devastating for them. But they knew it was a possibility when he joined the military and they knew how strongly he felt about serving his country. They are proud that he chose to defend our nation and turned their loss into a force for good by helping to create Homes for the Brave for homeless female veterans and the Kicks for Nick organization, which has distributed 50,000 soccer balls in Nick’s name to impoverished children in war torn countries.

Of the 325 million people in the United States today, only about 2.1 million have pledged their service to one of the branches of our armed forces. Because such a small proportion of our population serves in the military, I sometimes worry that people don’t fully appreciate our freedoms have been gained and are maintained by a high human cost.

That is one of the reasons observing Memorial Day and teaching our children and grandchildren the meaning of Memorial Day is so important. I hope when you attend a parade or ceremony you take the time to talk to a veteran. Introduce your children and grandchildren and have them ask about the vet’s service.

It’s important that we remember and appreciate the sacrifices our veterans have made and continue to make to this very day. So hope you say a prayer for those who gave their lives and thank those who are still with us, and take a moment to reflect on the remarkable freedoms our servicemen and women fought for.

God bless America and happy Memorial Day.

Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.